People don’t hate meetings. They just hate your meetings.
The reality is that most people don’t know how to run effective meetings, and they need help, which is probably why you’re reading this.
Everyone knows the effects of a bad meeting culture in a company. We’ve all heard complaints such as, “If it weren’t for all these meetings, I’d actually get some work done.”
Some senior business leaders have only one or two hours in a given week without a meeting scheduled, and some employees don’t even begin actual work until after 5 p.m. because they’re in meetings all day.
Isn’t it tragic that many people not only think of meetings as an unimportant aspect of work but also as a detriment? That’s not the sign of a healthy company culture. The solution is to fundamentally change the way in which you do meetings, and in the process, change the way your company does business.
Meetings Are Your Cultural Bellwether
Bill Lee shares a famous story about Steve Jobs. When an Apple development group was tasked with making DVD-burning software, they spent weeks planning for the meeting with specs, charts and options. When the day of the meeting came, Steve Jobs walked in, went straight to the white board, and drew a picture of a rectangle that represented the application. He said he wanted the user to drag a video into the window and click “burn.” “That’s what we’re going to make,” he said.
Jobs could have spent countless hours going over what his employees thought he wanted, wasting everyone’s time. Instead, he led, whittling down many options to one great option and pushed his team towards that one goal.
Jobs ran his meetings like he ran his company. How about you?
If your employees grumble about your meeting culture, it’s time to pay attention and find some solutions because your meeting culture is the bellwether of your company culture. Lots of meetings, wasted time and no decisions are not only frustrating for your employees but also poison for your business.
3 Keys for a Successful Meeting
There are three important keys that all companies should strive for: energy, focus and accountability.
Energy. In a healthy company, everyone is engaged. Next time you’re in a meeting, pay attention to how people are interacting. Are they staring into space? Checking e-mail? Working on other things?
You could get mad at them, but the problem is probably your lack of energy as a leader.
If you’re engaged, if you lead and set the tone, others will follow. It’s the same in leading meetings as it is in leading a company. Set the pace and expect others to keep up.
Focus. Energy is important, but if it’s not channeled correctly, it can become destructive. How do you prepare your team for a meeting? Do you think through what you want to discuss? Do you prepare an agenda? Does everyone know why you’re calling them to a meeting and what you expect?
Learn a lesson from Steve Jobs. Focus. He took a multitude of ideas and focused his team on one great idea. Channel your team’s creative energy into one specific task and goal.
Accountability. You can have all the energy and focus in the world, but if your employees don’t know what they’re supposed to do, your team will either do redundant work or give up because they’re not sure of what you want.
In meetings, everyone should also know what you expect of them coming into and going out of a meeting. It’s not enough to talk and dream, you also have to do. Bring crystal clarity to your team and follow up.
Want to change your company culture? Start today by working on your meeting culture.
How do you structure your meetings? Is there room for improvement? Let us know in the comment box below.
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